Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Babushka's Revenge

It's 100 days to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC, the big national championship for spellers from all across the US. It all starts locally, and last night here in Madison, SD, we gave a young lady, Shauna Pauli from Milbank, a chance to move on to the state championship in Yankton, where she'll face only four other regional champions. More here.

Yours truly was the pronouncer for the bee, and my lingering cold might have had something to do with kids' trouble with words like grotto, geode, isobar, and quesadilla. But not aria. Babushka put one of the spellers out, and it was almost sayonara for our champion when she missed it, but she came back to win.

Sponsored by Jon Hunter and The Madison Daily Leader, the regional contest, held last night in the TCB at DSU, had about 10 spellers, mostly from Madison, but a young lady from Milbank came down and wrested the crown away from a local boy after about a dozen rounds of spelling. She'll have a chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington when she faces the other qualifiers. Go spellers!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Another Blankety-Blank Winter Day

We're getting a little tired around here of our friend the winter season, a visitor that has overstayed his welcome, lingered too long and been too demanding. Today it's almost March and with temperatures at 9 degrees, wind at 22-29 mph to make it feel like it's freaking -12 degrees. Yuk! It makes me think fondly of those February days in Dodge City, KS, when I could walk to school in my shirt sleeves. I wouldn't be a whole lot better off down there today; it's 26 with the wind blowing like it always did.

Walking from the street to Beadle Hall was the final test for the morning, and I was wishing I could have kept my face in my pocket for that 100-yard journey.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

555 KUBIK Building Art Project--Awesome!

I was telling CB about this cool art project on Thursday, a video that was posted to my sister Becky's Facebook page. Make sure you have the sound on so you can hear the sounds of stones moving. It's very strange and cool. Let's do this at DSU!

Friday, February 19, 2010

A New York State of Mind, and Penguin vs. Chicken

I went looking for some information about setting up a literary magazine type site online and stumbled across this Nikon Festival where entries seek to tell the story of Your Day in 140 seconds or less. Top prize from the judges was $100,000; the audience award was for $25,000. The audience picked A New York State of Mind, while the judges picked Penguin vs. Chicken. You'll get a kick out of the story of the chicken/penguin conflict. As the creator of it says, "We all have our share of bad jobs as teenagers. This was mine."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Sign of Spring

The promise of warmer times comes in many forms. Yesterday's mail brought one of them even as the weather reminded us that spring still has a way to go to arrive. But the Gurney's catalog and its wide variety of fruits and vegetables helps one picture what summertime can be, even as the snow is still two feet deep in the yard.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Dunkmeisters in Madison

The last DSU men's and women's home basketball games of the year are tonight in the Fieldhouse, and at halftime there will be a demonstration of dunking gymnastics by Extreme Dunks. You can check out their website, which includes a video of an appearance on David Letterman, here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chalk Artist of Beadle Hall

I teach in Room 227 of Beadle Hall, and the other day I noticed (how could you not?) that someone had been making good use of the blank slate chalkboards in that room. I had not herd u liek mudkips, but that was so yesterday.

Snowy Holy Family

Joseph and Mary seem to be looking for their lost infant in a snowbank in this Madison photo of a yard that once was green and warm but hasn't been for some time. When spring comes, they may find a chilly little bundle of joy.
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Kalideoscope of Icicles

The wife and I enjoyed a drive through town today photographing houses with impressive ice decor. Enjoy!
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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cupcakes Galore

When we finally made it home yesterday after a long day at work, some after-work socializing, and a game in which the DSU men whupped up on the BHSU Yellowjackets, we found this lovely box with even lovelier cupcakes inside.

I was a little slow to take photos, so some of the treats were already being digested. Our thanks to the cooks, decorators, and delivery personnel!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Zombies Vs. Humans Vs. Homework

Zombies have invaded Madison and the Dakota State University campus, and now it's official. Start with one zombie, who claims other zombies, until the world is fully infected. Unless you've got Nerf guns.

Students bought into the game, got a white bandanna and a badge, and started playing. My first hint was Tuesday, and by today those wearing bandannas on their limbs (humans) seemed to be outnumbered by those with bandannas on their heads (zombies). But humans were still in evidence, wielding their Nerf guns (or soft items for rendering zombies inert for ten minutes) and keeping a wary eye out for the undead. Check out the fun video some DSU students put together below.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Daisy Miller and Wordle

I'm teaching the novella Daisy Miller: A Study, by Henry James this week, and I found an online version of the story that was all in one piece, so I took it and dumped it into to see how it looks. As you can see, it appears to be as much a story about Mr. Winterbourne as it is about Daisy.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Something Else on Frontline: Digital Nation

One of my colleagues (not, apparently, a LOST fan) sent out a note today recommending a new series by PBS and Frontline. It's a series that investigates what "life on the virtual frontier" means today. The first episode seems to be titled "Distracted by Everything." The script below may not work, so here's the URL.

LOST's Final Season

The wife and I have enjoyed ABC's strange series LOST, and tonight they begin what they're saying is their final season, but who knows--maybe the network will get swept into the kind of time warp that makes the characters' noses bleed and fall down. Noting what their cash cow has done for them, we may soon find the ABC network execs all shouting, like Jack does, "We've got to go BACK!"

Then again, judging from the photo show here, maybe they're already aware they're taking themselves just a BIT too seriously. Or maybe they're not aware. Just in case you're not, here's the real deal.

Let's Try This Again in October

Okay, so there's snow on the ground two feet deep, my leg still complains even if I'm sitting at my desk, and my long run this year so far is about 3.5 miles. So, what should I do? Maybe I'll enter the Twin Cities Marathon again this year. Online registration opened at 12:01 this morning, according to the flier I almost tossed in the trash. So, spurred by the thought of training in the summer and fall again for this endurance test, I've thrown my hat (or my running shoes) in the ring again. Last October I had to take a pass and simply enjoy being part of the support crew for the Mighty Quinn's first marathon attempt. So, I've got a new goal, same as the old goal. I still get to be in Corral 1, thanks to a good Deadwood run last year. The wife and I will try that one again in June. Join us! It's a beauty!